Utilizing Translation Services to Improve Health Care Delivery


Health care delivery is an essential interface with the health system for patients and the public.

It caters to individuals at every stage of their health journey, providing preventive measures, primary care, specialized consultations, emergency interventions, rehabilitation, and ongoing support for both physical and mental well-being.

It streamlines patient pathways and efficiently delivers medical interventions and proactive wellness services.

In a world where medical knowledge and products are transferred from one region to another, language barriers can pose a significant obstacle to effective healthcare delivery, leading to miscommunication, mistrust, and, ultimately, poorer health outcomes. Fortunately, translation services can be crucial in bridging these gaps and improving healthcare delivery for everyone.

Below are some ways translation services can be utilized to enhance health care delivery:

Efficient and proper use of medical devices

From everyday wellness to pandemic preparedness, access to good quality, affordable, and appropriate health products is the cornerstone of a healthier future.

Common medical procedures like bandaging a sprained ankle would be impossible without medical devices.

A medical device can be any tool, machine, material, or software intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent a medical condition on its own or with other devices.

Any instrument, appliance, or software meant for medical use, from bandages to pacemakers, qualifies as a medical device.

Medical device manufacturers interested in marketing their products outside the country in which they were developed will need medical device translation services.

Such services ensure the language used, from packaging to product labeling and instructions for use, is error-free. This will enable the efficient and proper usage of the product, even by a layperson at home or paramedical staff and clinicians in remote clinics.

Improve access to health care

Building genuine rapport through effective communication lies at the heart of providing patient-centered care, a recognized pillar of modern medicine.

Unfortunately, many patients in the United States cannot benefit from this fundamental interaction because of language barriers.

Over 20 million people ages five or older living in the United States have limited English proficiency (LEP). These limited–English-proficient (LEP) patients may not receive needed health care or the standard of care due to a lack of interpreters and other services in their primary language.

Meanwhile, a study that examined the use of professional interpreter services for Portuguese and Spanish-speaking patients discovered it increased the delivery of health care to the limited–English-speaking patients.

Reduced medical errors

Due to the inherent complexities of medical terminology and its impact on human well-being, medical translation ranks among the most challenging fields of language translation. It involves navigating a labyrinth of specialized terms, nuanced meanings, and critical implications.

Errors in medical interpretation for patients with LEP are common, especially when the interpreter is a family member or other untrained person. Whether in person or via video conference, the error is significantly reduced when a trained medical interpreter is involved.

Accurate translation of medical records, prescriptions, and consent forms minimizes the risk of errors due to misinterpretation. This contributes to improved patient safety and better overall healthcare outcomes.

It also helps physicians effectively diagnose ailments as patients’ complaints are well understood with the help of a professional translation service.

Accurate medical communication

Like every other industry, the healthcare industry has been significantly impacted by technology, both positively and negatively. Just as technology aids in disease diagnosis, the health care delivery system is facing many challenges caused by technology, such as digital natives who self-diagnose using the internet.

Studies report that over 60 percent of American adults have searched online for health-related information.

While self-diagnosis in itself is not bad, it is possible for someone without medical training to misinterpret information, even from credible sources. This can be further worsened if the original content is written in another language and loosely translated by incompetent technology like an evolving artificial intelligence.

Professional translation services, however, can be utilized to create accurate medical content in multiple languages.

It can also leveraged for real-time communication during consultations, examinations, and procedures.

The utilization of preferred languages by physicians during medical consultations demonstrates respect for cultural backgrounds and promotes inclusivity, increasing patient satisfaction and engagement. This helps build trust and ensures patients actively participate in their care.

Compliance with regulations

Many countries worldwide, including the United States, mandate the translation of documentation pertaining to the approval and compliance of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and in vitro diagnostics products.

Their meticulous analysis relies on accurate, local language approval dossiers, paving the way for safe and effective healthcare solutions.

This type of translation service is regarded as regulatory translation. In addition to linguistic skills, regulatory translation requires fluency in the language of medicine and regulatory compliance.

Utilizing reputable translation services ensures compliance with these regulations and avoids potential legal issues.